‘Raphael will certainly talk my ear off later because of this.
If this was another day, I wouldn’t have done this at all.’
As a matter of fact, he was the one who asked her to dance, but it was something that he normally wouldn’t have done.
It was specifically for the reason of averting the scandal between him and Sera Popo that he picked a different partner, with political reasons in mind.
But because he did the opposite of avoiding her, it would just encourage more rumors to abound.
He knew all of these things, but Helios asked Sera to dance anyway.
Since the music started at that time, everyone around them started dancing, and so he made the excuse that it was just inevitable.
Towards her question, he answered.
“Not at all.
You’re beautiful tonight, Miss Popo.
It’s good to see you here.”
As Sera’s eyes were still filled with anxiety, Helios whispered into her ear.
But the moment she heard his words, her nervousness melted like snow.
Once again, outside her control, her heart pounded relentlessly.
She found this to be pathetic.
She had pretended to be a smart, sensible woman in front of Aushuvel, but her body wouldn’t follow her rational mind as easily as she wanted.
Helios’ hands wrapped around her waist, then he lifted her gently.
The abundantly flowing tulle fluttered like a flower in full bloom, then sank back down.
People’s gasps of admiration could be heard from their surroundings as they attracted their attention.
Beneath his long, silver eyelashes, his gorgeous violet eyes clearly faced her.
He gently set her back down on the floor and gently held her hand and waist again, just as when they started.
With a sweet breath, the way he huffed out troubled Sera.
“How have you been, Miss Popo”
“Um… Their Highnesses and I have just been practicing the waltz in the past few days.
What about you, Your Majesty”
“Just the normal routine.
It’s a shame that I couldn’t see you, Miss Popo.”
‘What do you mean, a shame!’
While still holding hands as they kept their eyes on each other, Sera suddenly turned away, but almost made the mistake of stepping on his foot.
Thankfully, Helios quickly dodged.
“It must have been very difficult for you because they didn’t know the dance steps yet.
But you did a wonderful job.”
“It was thanks to Prince Aushuvel’s guidance.
His training was truly Spartan.”
“Ah… It’s a foreign word from a distant country.
It means teaching very rigorously.”
“It’s a word that I don’t recognize, so I guess it must be from the Orient.”
“Something like that…”
Sera awkwardly made an excuse, but Helios didn’t mind it.
“So you said Prince Aushuvel helped you”
“Ah, yes… He taught Their Highnesses more seriously than I expected he would.
And I learned a lot from him as well.
He’s an amazing dancer.”
Helios’ expression seemed to express his discomfort again.
But this was just a guess on Sera’s part.
The gentle emperor she knew wouldn’t have made an expression like that for no reason.
Every time Prince Aushuvel’s name was mentioned, it was just a trick of the light that the emperor seemed to be frowning, let alone look jealous.
When the waltz stopped, Sera took one step back from Helios.
It was time for them to take a bow and part ways, but his hands on her own hand and her waist were still there.
Sera’s voice brought him back from his reverie.
Maybe he forgot to let go.
Soon enough, his hands slipped away from her fingers and her waist.
“Did I hold on too long”
Sera shook her head.
Those who decided not to dance again were abuzz as they left the dance floor.
On the other hand, the people who still wanted to continue to dance stayed, moving around to look for their next partner.
Sera and Helios were also compelled to decide on what to do next.
As the voice full of warmth called her name, Sera faced the owner of that voice.
Like bubblegum to her heart, rising expectations sweetly clung to her heart.
However, as Helios hesitated for a moment, the woman in red interfered between the two.
It was Duke Saruvia Cross.
With the red color of her outfit, which was the opposite of Sera’s blue dress, Saruvia looked even more captivating when seen up close.
“I’ll feel hurt if you leave me alone like this, sire.”
“I’ve been looking forward to this day very much.”
Saruvia narrowed her red eyes sharply, but she soon smiled and clung to Helios’ arm.
The way she fluttered her eyelashes, with the beauty mark next to one eye, was truly alluring.
“You’re Miss Popo, right”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
“I am His Majesty’s partner.
Would it be alright if you be a bit more considerate of me, Miss Popo”
Her snake-like red eyes turned towards Sera.
The tone in which she spoke was careful and gentle, but there was still an underlying hint of hostility beneath it all.
‘Yeah, of course… Anyone would feel bad if their partner danced with someone else.
And if you’re lovers, it’s only normal to dance only with them.’
Besides, Sera fully understood Saruvia’s intentions, given her own unrequited love.
It’s only natural that she got upset.
And it’s only natural for Sera to be more considerate to her.
“Of course, Your Grace.
I will be going back to my place.”
“Thank you, Miss Popo.”
Sera replied cheerfully with a smile, but it was upsetting to see how Saruvia linked her arm with Helios’ before Sera could even finish speaking.
The well-manicured hand on Helios’ arm held him even tighter.
‘Are you really doing this on purpose… His Majesty isn’t interested in me anyway…’
“Then, I shall be on my way.”
Sera curtsied deeply.
Her long dress flowed down on the floor.
Helios watched as Sera turned around to move away.
Then, he cautiously opened his lips to speak.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“We agreed on being partners for this banquet and the first waltz.”
Far from the excitement filling the air around him, Helios’ voice sank down to a low tone.
His eyes were gentle and filled with warmth, but if it hadn’t been for that woman called ‘Sera Popo’, this wouldn’t have been possible to see.
Helios wasn’t the kind of person who would say something like this.